Fed govt to review critical skill shortages

The federal government is seeking submissions from trades experiencing critical skill shortages as it prepares to review how the National Skills Needs List is determined.

The move by Michaelia Cash, the federal minister responsible for employment, skills, small and family business, follows months of lobbying by the Print & Visual Communication Association (PVCA) which has held concerns the current data collection method could be faulty.

The National Skills Needs List is used to determine financial assistance eligibility to take on an apprentice or trainee or up-skill current staff in trades experiencing skills shortages.

PVCA CEO Andrew Macaulay welcomed the review saying the government is listening to the needs of the printing industry.

“We welcome the government’s announcement on reviewing the National Skills Needs List and thank them for listening to industry,” he said.

“It is vitally important for this industry that the government continues to consult the print, packaging and visual communication industry and this review is a very good step in that direction.”

Macaulay added that the PVCA have been campaigning and advocating on behalf of its members in the print, packaging and visual communications sector for a review of the list as the current data collection method could be faulty.

“We have had a very open dialogue with the minister’s office and our PVCA team have been strongly advocating for this review since the federal budget was handed down in April this year. We ran a strong campaign on this issue and thank the government for taking our concerns on board,” Macaulay said.

The federal government wants skills shortages accurately identified to ensure apprenticeship incentives are targeted at addressing areas of critical skills shortages in Australia.

“This review will ensure that skills and training in Australia keeps pace with the changing economy and advancements in technology, especially in advance manufacturing such as the print, packaging and visual communications sector,” PVCA board president Walter Kuhn said.

In announcing the move, Cash said the review will ensure skills shortages are identified using a forward-looking, up-to-date methodology and that apprenticeship incentives are targeted at addressing critical skills shortages in the Australian economy.

“Developing a robust and enduring approach to determining how apprenticeship incentives address skills shortages is part of the Morrison Government’s commitment to maintaining a strong vocational education and training sector that supports employers’ needs and builds a skilled workforce,” Cash said in a statement.

The review will be conducted in a two-stage consultation process.

The first stage involves the government seeking input on the broad design principles that should underpin a methodology for identifying skills shortages for the purpose of targeting apprenticeship incentives.

The second stage involves the seeking of comment on the proposed design of the new skills shortage methodology.

The closing date for submissions is 27 September.

“The PVCA will take a hands-on approach during this review process and will also be seeking feedback from its members to ensure the industry’s voice is heard,” Macaulay said.

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